Small wind turbines offer a big solution for telecommunications
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has announced $341,990 in funding to Diffuse Energy to demonstrate the effectiveness its innovative micro wind turbine technology for use on off-grid telecommunications towers and broader remote applications.
It comes as part of the $922,307 project, the Newcastle-based startup will install its small wind turbines at ten off-grid telecommunications towers across various locations in Australia.
Telecommunications providers in Australia currently rely heavily on diesel generation to power their off-grid sites which leaves them exposed during natural disasters like bushfires or floods, cutting off vital communications when needed.
With resilience a major issue for the telecommunications industry, wind turbine technology is seen as a solution to keep these towers operating.
Diffuse Energy has developed a novel small wind turbine capable of generating 500W that solves a number of technical issues previously associated with small wind turbines, including low energy efficiency compared to their larger counterparts, maintenance issues and poor commercial outcomes for the end user.
Small wind turbines are complementary to solar PV and batteries, particularly when solar and batteries are restricted due to space restrictions or lack of sun.
ARENA chief executive Darren Miller says ARENA was pleased to support homegrown innovation in the private sector with real world commercial applications: “Diffuse Energy’s micro wind technology offers an opportunity for a renewable energy solution to reduce emissions for off-grid telecommunications, while also ensuring the resilience of these towers in being able to operate at critical times such as during bushfires.
“ARENA is excited to be assisting an Australian startup in proving the effectiveness of their small wind turbine technology which could have large market potential across many markets and applications. While this particular project is focusing on communications towers, the technology could also have other potential applications including mining, small microgrids and farming,” he says.
Diffuse Energy co-founder and chief executive Joss Kesby welcomes the funding, saying with ARENA’s support, their operation could be scaled up: “Telecommunication providers depend on secure and resilient energy generation in order to deliver essential communication services. The industry is also rapidly moving towards net zero carbon emissions creating a very strong demand for innovative, cost-effective renewable technologies.”
“A nationwide rollout of our wind turbine technology to these sites could displace 17 GWh and 33,000 tonnes of CO2 from fossil fuelled generation per year. Equivalent to $43.9 million in savings of diesel fuel, transportation costs, and generator maintenance.”